MLA wants February statutory holiday in N.S.
SYDNEY — Any place but work is where many Canadians spent Monday. And the push is on for Nova Scotians to join them in the near future.
Monday was Family Day in Alberta, Ontario and Saskatchewan. The holiday is called Louis Riel Day in Manitoba and Islander Day in Prince Edward Island.
Now Diana Whalen, the Liberal MLA for Halifax-Clayton Park, is leading the latest charge for the third Monday of each February to also become a statutory holiday in this province.
“It is now well over the majority of Canadians that have the day off and all the U.S. shut down for President’s Day, so I think this is an idea whose time has come,” said Whalen in a phone interview from Halifax.
She said the public obviously supports the idea, but it hasn’t always been backed by the business community because of the cost.
However, a long weekend in February sounds good to the president of the Sydney and Area Chamber of Commerce.
“ We’ve talked about it before as the item has been brought up over the years and there was always support for that,” said Joyce MacDougall.
“ February is not a terribly busy month for businesses usually, and so it is a good time to see a holiday. There’s been no opposition whatsoever, historically, for that.”
In other provinces Whalen said a February long weekend has actually generated business.
“Community events and festivals spring up because people will immediately create something around that long weekend.”
Museums and other public places often open, Whalen noted.
“It picks people up,” MacDougall added. “People are in a better mood and you never know maybe on the Saturday before the holiday people would get out and just feel better about doing a little shopping. Retail therapy is a good thing for the business community.”
Whalen has suggested Joseph Howe Day as a fitting name for the proposed holiday to recognize the former premier and champion of freedom of the press.
However, she’s open to other names.
“I think that if it is a Nova Scotian holiday we should make it a unique name and not just Family Day.”